New Grad With Baby on the Way - Should I work nights?

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I will be graduating from nursing school in a few weeks and am expecting my first child i My husband is attending medical school and is not home much and we have no family in the area. I would love some job advice.

    I would like to work 3 nights a week so that he will be home with the baby (as I know I will have to start out working full time). As experienced nurses, how manageable is it to work nights with young children and do most hospitals try to make you work more than three 12 hour shifts a week?

    How long do you need to work before you can typically switch to part time? Any interviewing advice that could help me stand out as a new nurse?

    Thank you! Your advice is much appreciated.




    Dear Wants Advice,

    Congratulations on your new arrival and your graduation!

    For the most part, hospitals may ask you to work extra shifts, but it is not usually mandated. Once they understand you are not available, they stop calling and call in the nurses who are looking for extra work.

    Many nurses with babies work, and I think it's manageable insofar as things we have to do
    become manageable. It will be hard, but if it's what you have to do, then it will work out.

    Night shift can be a really good alternative with a little one who is not in school...of course, you will need to sleep during the day.

    It's advisable to work a year when you start out before going part-time. You need a dedicated year of practice to reach competency, and to hardwire your nursing skills
    Nursing school is hard, and so is medical school. But there's an end in sight, and a goal.

    Here are a couple of links to helpful articles.

    Creating a resume with no experience

    How to Answer “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?”

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    P.S. With the baby, and a new job, try to make time for you and your hubby
    to keep your relationship strong

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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   Pixie.RN
    I am also expecting my first in a few weeks, and my husband is in medical school. I am not a new grad, but I am sure I will have some challenges with my my husband being very busy, drinking from the fire hose that is medical school. Congratulations!
  4. by   texasnurs
    Thank you so much! And congrats Pixie.RN! We can survive this right? Haha. No, I know it will be hard but it will be worth it.
  5. by   Zyprexa
    Quote from Pixie.RN
    I am also expecting my first in a few weeks, and my husband is in medical school. I am not a new grad, but I am sure I will have some challenges with my my husband being very busy, drinking from the fire hose that is medical school. Congratulations!
    Congrats Pixie.RN!!!!
  6. by   3ringnursing
    I took the last pencil and paper NCLEX February 1994 - 8 1/2 months pregnant. We had planned for my husband (then a cook) to stay home with our son for the first 2 years. Too soon it seemed my maternity leave ended, and I had been working several months ... my mom suddenly died unexpectedly. We now had no back up (although she herself worked full time, we had planned for her to move in, quit her job to help us, and buy a house together) and were grieving a huge loss.

    I started work on 12 hour day shifts 3 days a week right away as a new grad RN. I also soon discovered how insane day shift could be too. It was not for me - especially in my fragile state of postpartum depression (not routinely screened for back then) and the big time grief that rocked my entire world on it's axis.

    By Christmas I changed to night shift. It was more sedate and I loved it, but it had it's own issues - namely the off sleep cycle, and the necessity of switching back again to a day wake cycle on my days off.

    It all depends on the availability in the unit you are hiring on to regarding what shift has the biggest need (take heart: not everyone wants day shift, and not everyone does well functioning on it either).

    I'd say there is a 50/50% chance you could be hired on to day shift if that's what you want/need.

    If not, it all depends on when someone does quit until a spot opens up. With the turn over rate of bedside care, this could be quite soon.

    I wish you and your fami!y the very best with your new career - and congratulations on your soon to be newborn baby too! How exciting! I hope you get not only exactly what you want, but also exactly what you need too! And God bless!
    Last edit by 3ringnursing on Jun 19
  7. by   MierKat
    To New Grad Wants Advice - Here are my nightshift/postpartum/two working spouse tips:

    Figure out how you'll sleep and if you'll switch back and forth between day/night. With a newborn and their sleep habits (or lack thereof) this might be the best time for a parent to work nights. Who is going to care for the baby while you sleep? If your husband is at school, is he going to take the baby to day care? Or are you going to only sleep when baby sleeps (very stressful IMO)? Or do you have family/part-time sitter to watch the baby on those days?

    Here's an article by a mom who was on night shift. She has some good ideas - wear sunglasses/special glasses when you get off shift so you can sleep when you get home, sleep mask, blackout curtains in the bedroom, how to eat on night shift, how to manage a house/family/meals.

    Surviving the Night Shift - Nom Nom Paleo(R)

    If you don't have enough cash to have meal prep, housecleaners, grocery delivery... then start now talking with your spouse. Will you batch-cook (slow cooker, make-ahead meals) on your days off? Will hubby cook? Will you survive on frozen Trader Joe's entrees, frozen prepped veggies and bagged salads (possible)?

    It can be done and it's good that you're thinking about this before the baby is born.

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